A week ago, Baker Mayfield looked like a dead nuts lock for the Heisman Trophy. He was leading the nation’s No. 4 team, was three wins away from going to the College Football Playoff and essentially just needed to avoid a statistical meltdown, and the Heisman would have been his.
On Saturday, though, Mayfield stirred up plenty of controversy with the obscene gestures he flashed towards the Kansas bench in a 41-3 victory in Lawrence. The gesture didn’t go over well in the mainstream media. Mayfield was apologetic, but coach Lincoln Riley decided that it was time to punish his star player.
With the Sooners sitting 120 minutes of football from playing for the National Championship, Riley has decided to bench his starting quarterback for the start of Oklahoma’s Week 13 contest against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Riley stated that Mayfield would play, but he didn’t specify exactly when that would be the case.
After the news of Mayfield’s suspension, BookMaker.eu dropped his Heisman Trophy odds from -2000 to -450.
By all accounts, Mayfield has already done enough to warrant winning the Heisman. He’s well on his way to posting the highest yards per pass attempt average in FBS history, and his 34/5 TD/INT ratio is tops in the nation among quarterbacks with at least 15 touchdown passes.
All will be forgotten if the Sooners go on to win the Big XII title and Mayfield has a second great game against TCU. That’s why Mayfield remains the odds-on favorite by a comfortable margin to win the Heisman Trophy.
But the door has at least swung open for a couple of the longshots to make some noise.
Lamar Jackson was in the spotlight at all the right times last season. He built up so much equity with his huge win over Florida State that he was able to coast to the finish line with the Heisman Trophy easily in hand in spite of the fact that the Cardinals didn’t turn out to be all that good.
This year, Louisville has been out of the national limelight all year long since the Cardinals were out of the title race in September. However, if you look at his stats side-by-side from last season to this year, it’s hard to rule him out.
Lamar Jackson Statistics
2016: 3,543 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 1,571 rushing yards, 21 rushing touchdowns
2017: 3,273 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 1,287 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns
There’s a reason why Jackson is starting to close fast on Mayfield down the stretch of the year. Just two weeks ago, BookMaker.eu featured Jackson at +4000 to win the Heisman Trophy. He’s down to +400 as of Monday’s odds.
The only other man who can conceivably win the Heisman Trophy in our eyes is J.T. Barrett. The Ohio State quarterback had a forgettable game against Iowa when he was picked off four times. That said, when Barrett has been good, he’s been remarkable.
Barrett is going to be a 3,000-yard passer for the first time in his career, and he already has a total of 40 touchdowns between his arm and his legs. His statistics don’t add up with Mayfield’s, and he did lose the head-to-head matchup between the two. However, Barrett is considered a squeaky-clean athlete, and he still has a shot to play the Buckeyes into the College Football Playoff.
With two big wins over Michigan and Wisconsin, Barrett could easily provide huge value at a price of +2500.
Odds to Win the Heisman Trophy (Updated 11/20)
Baker Mayfield -450
Lamar Jackson +400
Bryce Love +1000
Saquon Barkley +2000
J.T. Barrett +2500
Mason Rudolph +10000
(Odds courtesy of BookMaker.eu)